Fear has gripped villagers in Kisumu West following increased incidents of cattle theft.
Unknown people have been stealing cows in the dead of night, slaughtering them and carting away the meat, leaving behind the animals’ hides, heads and internal organs.
The most recent incident happened last Saturday night in Lower Kotetni village when Melder Auma, a widowed mother of five, woke up to the news that a pregnant cow had been stolen.
Ms Auma said she remembered hearing what sounded like footsteps outside the house.
“I suspect they sprayed some substance which made me unconscious because I slept deeply and woke up late and tired,” she said.
After a three-hour search, the cow’s remains were discovered in a nearby bush, with its foetus dumped a few metres away.
Anthony Ondiek, who lives in neighbouring Konyuto village, had also lost a cow the previous week.
Mr Ondiek said he checked on his livestock at 3am before going back to sleep.
“When my wife woke up at 5am, she went to the cowshed only to find one of the animals missing. She thought it had escaped into a nearby maize plantation,” he said.
The animal’s skeletal remains were once again found in the nearby bushes.
Chief Simon Osege said villagers had named a suspect who disappeared when he realised he was being sought.
“We are trying to trace him, but we cannot confidently say he was involved until due process of the law is followed,” said Mr Osege.
Kisumu West OCPD Edward Kang’ara said only one case was reported to his office two weeks ago. The suspect, who was a minor, was arrested and detained at a borstal institution.
“If there are other cases then I will take the initiative to engage the national administration so that a baraza can be held and we create awareness on how residents can report these cases and help bring the culprits to book,” said Mr Kang’ara.
The police boss said there had been cases in the past where the complainants declined to cooperate with the police because their relatives were involved in the thefts.
But George Ogola, the chairman of Korando Community Policing, said they suspected a group of youths calling themselves ‘The Young Al-Shabaabs’ was behind the incidents.
“At first there were cases of muggings then it moved to burglary. Now it is getting out of hand with the youth engaging in cattle theft and open robberies,” Mr Ogola said.
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